The heritage-listed and much-loved New Acton Pavilion went up in flames within minutes this afternoon.
Workers watched from the surrounding buildings, as the heritage-listed building’s rooftop, which includes Parlour Wine Room, Flint restaurant and the Molonglo Group, bellowed with smoke and flames.
The fire is suspected to have began at around 4.45pm. No one was injured in the fire.
Kate Jones and Chris Reid live on the ninth floor of the ApArtments, opposite the Diamant Hotel, and said they saw the blaze as it started just before 5pm.
“It started off quite small and we could see the flames, then it got bigger so quickly,” Kate said.
Chris said the emergency response seemed to take a long time.
“It was about 10 minutes before anyone came, then it was just one small engine and nothing seemed to happen,” he said.
“Then all of a sudden there were more. Nothing was very effective in controlling the fire until the cherry picker came, though.”
“It was crazy,” says Kate. “We were out on the balcony watching and at one point there were sparks and ash flying past our heads.
“That’s when we thought we should evacuate.”
Nathan Ramsay, a waiter at Flint restaurant where the fire is thought to have originated, said they had just set up a beer degustation for 130 guests.
“The hotel will have lost around $15,000 just for the meal.
“The building’s heritage listed, too – it’s going to take at least four years to rebuild.
“It looks like Bicicletta, Parlour Wine Room, the Molonglo Group’s offices and a few of the businesses there will be lost.
“There was an amazing collection of art in there too. Things that can’t be replaced.”